Estate Planning: Do You Have a Plan for Your Digital Assets?

When creating an estate plan, many people fail to include their digital assets.  As more and more people are doing more and more things online, it is not uncommon for many to have many digital properties that need to be taken care of.  Sometimes these items will have monetary value, such as blogs, business websites or purchased software.  Other times they won’t have any direct monetary value, but they still need to be accounted for.  Things like social media accounts, for example, should likely be deactivated or otherwise updated.

There are a number of important points to make sure are covered in your estate plan when it comes to digital assets.  Go through each of the following and make sure they are addressed if they apply to you:

Social Media Accounts – Provide a list of all your social media accounts, and what you would like done with them.  Most people simply want them deactivated – but others may want a final update sent out on their behalf to let all their connections know of their passing.

E-Mail Accounts – You may want to select a loved one to put up an auto-reply message letting people know that the account is no longer active.  If it was used for any type of business activity, having the messages forwarded to someone else may be appropriate.

Websites – A growing number of people own websites, and having them properly taken care of after your death may be very important.  Choose whether you want the site shut down, left up as it is, or passed on to someone else.  If you want it left up, make sure to include information about the hosting, any software or services that are used for it, and where the domain is registered to make the job easier for the individual who maintains it for you.

Online Photos – This is one of the most common digital assets today.  People often have thousands of precious photos stored online, and if you don’t plan properly, they could all be lost.  Make sure to leave the access information to a loved one so friends and family can go through them and keep them active.

Once you have identified all the different digital assets that you have, you need to make sure your loved ones will be able to access them with as little trouble as possible.  Keeping all the usernames and passwords stored securely away from your computer can be a great way to do this.  Just make sure that every time you update any of your information, or add additional accounts, you keep the list updated as well.

If you need any help planning for your digital assets – or with any other aspect of estate planning – we can help. Please contact us today to learn more!

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